First major blow up!

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Blog entry by GodofBiscuits posted 10-07-2011 04:53 AM 6803 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After some success with pens and a few bottle stoppers, I decided a bowl was overdue. I picked up a couple 2×6 rounds last week of curly maple and decided to see what kind of bowl I could fashion from one. I located center and attached the faceplate with some screws. My intention was to cut the bottom of the bowl for the Nova Chuck and shape it as much I could before turning it around and hollowing out the inside. I made the recess and shape the outside curve then sanded it to 600 grit. The boal was shaping up to be absolutely beautiful. I attached the Nova chuck and reversed the piece to hollow it out. as I was hollowing it out with my spindle gouge, I decided to give the new fancy schmancy carbide cutting tool I picked up from Rockler. The tool was on sale and came with a free replacement carbide cutter and since I intended on doing a lot of bowls and vases, I went ahead and bought it. The carbide tool is extremely sharp and does cut well… a little too well. The cutter did not want to cut the wood, it wanted to dig into the wood and pull the cutter into instead of cutting. Rotating the face of the cutter to the surface did not help it actually made matters worse. I then, with sheer stupidity at work, decided I wasn’t spinning the work piece fast enough so I took it up to 1800 RPM and BAM!!! the cutter dug in, grabbed the work piece and sent it flying across the shop. mind you my shot is only 7 feet by 10 feet but you get the picture. Now I’m thinking I will put the carbide cutter away and leave it alone till I better understand how to use it properly and get me a traditional bowl gouge instead. Has anyone else had issues with carbide cutting tools being hard to control or too aggressive?

I am going to try and salvage the bowl since the four screw holes are still there from the face plate and I really only need to fix the very bottom so I can reattach it to the chuck. we’ll see if that’s even possible. If it works… You’ll be seeing it in my project. ;o)

-- Are you going to use that piece of scrap?

7 comments so far

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2982 days

#1 posted 10-07-2011 06:04 AM

I don’t know, never used an easy tool yet, but been trying to find a project, to have a reason buy that tool.
up to now i use a bowl gouge or spindle gouge to work that wood.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3429 days

#2 posted 10-07-2011 09:13 AM

Benn there done that. Not with the carbide tool but with a regular scraper.

One thing I learned (the hard way) was to make sure your scraper is pointed down hill to your work piece. That is to say, your handle is higher then your tip and the tip hit the inside of the bowl ABOVE center. That way IF (and when) you get a catch, it will pull the tip of the cutter away from the wood instead of making it grab)

I know this is just opposite of a gouge, but it is recommended. I learned this from the video, TURNING WOOD WITH RICHARD RAFFIN. Very instructive video.

Never give up! Just keep practicing and practicing and ….


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2964 days

#3 posted 10-07-2011 05:18 PM

Jeffery, I have a piece of maple burl chucked up in the lathe right now so come on over and I will show you my two new carbide cutters and some different ways (not necessarily a better way, just different) to chuck your work up. Glad to see you were finally able to spring for that lathe you always wanted.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View helluvawreck's profile


31082 posts in 2865 days

#4 posted 10-07-2011 06:24 PM

I’ve only done a few spindles and legs here and there so I’m not an expert. However, in spite of all of these wrecks and problems that people get into it all ends up whetting my appetite to get into the ruckus myself. I’m glad the bowl didn’t hit you.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3269 days

#5 posted 10-07-2011 06:27 PM

I’ll second what Scrappy said. It is very disppointing to have a project that close to completion.

Pretty much every turner has had a few of these….Mine have typically occured when turning unstable burls, punky spalteds and such. Most of them are caused by a momentary lack of concentration (this is an easy way for the the tool to get away from you), through over agressive pressure on the tool into the wood or through dull tools…...always make sure you have a very sharp clean edge before using any turning tool.

The best remedy is practice (and more practice) and proper addressing of the tool to the wood. Raffan’s book is great (as mentioned by Scrappy) and another one is the Ellsworth book on turning ….both discuss the elementary stance and how to address the tool to the wood… makes a substantial difference in turning when you use a stance and hold your tools closer to the proper method – luckily for me, I wasn’t far off to begin (thanks to some great mentors). Alot of self taught turners will have these problems until they correct their stance and tool address.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3315 days

#6 posted 10-10-2011 07:35 PM

I have a couple of the Easy Wood Tools carbide tipped turning tools (the full-sized square one and the small round one). With these two, it is critical that the tool shaft is horizontal and the tool rest is adjusted to a height that puts the carbide tip at the exact center of the piece. Craig (the tool maker) claims you’ll never get a catch if you adjust it properly.

I still get a few catches, but it’s much better if I adjust my tool rest the way Craig suggested.

View GodofBiscuits's profile


97 posts in 3074 days

#7 posted 10-11-2011 09:25 PM

Well, I managed to save the bowl and here is what it eventually turned into.

I am going to take better pictures tonight after work and post it up as a project but thought I’d share with you the finished result. I’m very happy with the way it turned out concidering the issues I had with it in the beginning. But just as someone before told me about turning projects on the lathe, “It’s not a mistake, it’s a design change”

-- Are you going to use that piece of scrap?

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